Never been long haul before! Where with a 3 and 1 year old? Mexico? Cape Verde? Cruise?

(29 Posts)
AlwaysOneMissing Thu 08-Aug-13 09:10:05

We are thinking of going away in Dec / Jan but would like somewhere hot, and done the canaries. Don't fancy Egypt as it is so unsettled at the moment.

Cape Verde looks beautiful, perfect weather, only 1 hour time difference, amazing hotels BUT nothing whatsoever to do outside the hotel as it is a developing area, and not a great deal of hotel activities aimed at toddlers / preschoolers so we fear we'd be constantly struggling to entertain DC.

Cancun in Mexico looks perfect weather, beautiful hotels, child friendly BUT the 10 hour flight and 5 hour time difference is scaring us!!

Really like the idea of a cruise but would have to fly somewhere first to get to hot destinations at that time of year, so that bumps up the cost.

Does anyone have any experience of these places with toddlers / preschoolers or can suggest any other destinations?
Our budget would probably be 2.5-3k.

Thanks in advance if anyone can help!!

Runoutofideas Thu 08-Aug-13 18:52:44

Have you looked at Cuba? We had a fabulous time at the Playa Pesquero in Guadalavaca. Don't worry about the flight and time difference - it'll be fine. We have also been to Riu Touareg in Cape Verde - lovely hotel, but as you already know there is literally nothing around the hotel. There isn't much at Playa Pesquero to be fair, but the hotel has a lot more going on.

The main problem we found in Cape Verde is that the sea is incredibly rough - so rough that the children couldn't even paddle without being dragged over. In Cuba the sea is calm clear and beautiful. My eldest dd spend the entire holiday with her mask on, looking for fish!

The place we love to take ours, and have done since they were tiny, is Ao Nang in Krabi, Thailand. We stayed here which was fabulous. January is high season though so pretty pricy I would guess.

holidaybug Thu 08-Aug-13 21:13:19

I've been to Mexico recently - Playa del Car. The long flight wouldn't put me off but I just don't think it is that great to warrant going all that way. The beaches are beautiful but the sea is not calm for little ones - not as bad as Cape Verde by all accounts though. I prefer Asia/Indian ocean destinations tbh.

dontyouknow Thu 08-Aug-13 21:14:18

Tunisia? We went with a 12 month old at that time of year - warm but not that hot.

Can't help with Mexico with children - we had it booked then swine flu kicked in and it was cancelled 2 days before we were due to fly! Ended up in Sri Lanka instead which I can recommend. Cancun always seems quite expensive when I am looking into holidays, so if there are 4 of you think your budget would be a stretch.

We've also been to Goa, Thailand and Malaysia with a toddler and I would recommend them all. If you want to avoid an extra flight in Thailand then we have stayed a couple of times at the Regent Beach Holiday Inn at Cha-am, a couple of hours in a taxi from Bangkok airport. The beach isn't as pristine as further south but there are some national parks nearby with caves and waterfalls to explore and cave temples nearby to visit.

In Malaysia we had a few nights in KL and then went to Penang. That was a good choice as there are quite a few things you can do around the island that are just a half day trip.

Goa has loads for young children. We stay near Calangute. There are beaches, boat trips to spot dolphins at sea, boat trips along a river to look for crocodiles, temples to look at, spice plantations to visit and elephants to ride. Loved it so much our 6 year old DD has been 3 times. The sea is quite rough though - we would go paddling in the sea and jump about in the waves and save our swimming for the pool.

My DD has never had a problem with time differences and sleeps well on planes - the seats are quite large for little people even if they are cramped for us! On the plane take lots of food and ipad/DVDs/DS.

AlwaysOneMissing Thu 08-Aug-13 22:53:26

Thanks for the advice Run, as soon as we looked at Playa Pesquero we were wowed and wanted to book it! But unfortunately they only fly there once a week from the UK and the dates were not compatible with when we can go.

Cape Verde has many benefits, only 1 hour time difference, relatively short flights, beautiful hotels. But I have read elsewhere about the sea being rough, and now you have reiterated that, it does put me off. I wonder if we will get a little bored if we can not really venture outside the complex, and we also can not make the most of the beach.

I had not considered Thailand at all, so thanks for the suggestion, I will look into that.

AlwaysOneMissing Thu 08-Aug-13 23:02:43

holidaybug thank you, we hasn't considered that exact place in Mexico, just Cancun. Interesting you say you are not sure whether it is worth going all that way for.

Dont you are right, we are struggling to come within budget for Cancun.
We hadn't considered Sri Lanka, or Goa, Thailand or Malaysia! But we'll look into those places. We are not particularly adventurous travellers, so I'm not sure how confident we would feel taking toddlers to such unfamiliar (to us) places.
Reassuring that you say your DC coped well with long flights and time differences.
Thanks for all your input, any further suggestions also welcome!

I went to the island of Sal in cape Verde and stayed at Clubhotel Riu Funana it was best holiday ever and most beautiful beaches much better than the carribbean I thought. We took our 3 yr old who was very hyperactive and we weren't bored. We are doing Mexico this year but the kids are now 9 and 4

TheRealFellatio Fri 09-Aug-13 07:41:20

I have heard seceral people say that Cape Verde is still way too underdeveloped to be terribly worthwhile and they have been rattling around struggling for things to do and places to go. I am sure there are a few decent hotels with everything laid on, but be wary about where you book. And yes, rough sea.

TheRealFellatio Fri 09-Aug-13 07:42:21

Thailand is TRULY magnificent, and once you are there it can be very cheap. The flight and the time difference is a real bugger though - especially with children.

TheRealFellatio Fri 09-Aug-13 07:43:22

WE have also hear some fantastic things about Sri Lanka and Kerala - Goa not so much.

Runoutofideas Fri 09-Aug-13 20:10:44

This in Koh Lanta is where we are hoping to go at Easter. Just trying to get flights booked first. Thailand is so cheap to eat out etc that we always book flights and accommodation separately rather than a package holiday. Cuba and cape Verde you need to be on all inc really as there is nothing else around - in Thailand that would be a shame as you'd miss out on loads of fantastic local restaurants.

BTW this will be our 4th trip to Thailand since having dd1 (now 8). None of us has ever been ill from the food there, whereas we have in Dominican Republic and Egypt, and the medical services, should you need them, are fantastic!

Sea wasn't rough when we went! It was crystal clear and totally beautiful. We did go for several walks along the beach to the local town where we watched local fisherman haul their catch onto their pier. We found hatched turtles eggs on the beach as well

holidaybug Fri 09-Aug-13 20:31:07

Hi, yes we're pretty well travelled and I liked Mexico, don't get me wrong. Would I choose to go again? Probably not. For me, the beaches were lovely but not as 'exotic' like you would get in the Indian Ocean and Thailand. Also, if you are travelling with a 1 and 3 year old, you aren't going to be doing the popular trips to Chichen Itza, the Cenotes unless you and your DH go on separate days.

It is a shame that Egypt is having such troubles at the moment as it is perfect for a sunny hotel based holiday without having to spend £££

forevergreek Fri 09-Aug-13 20:35:28

We have been to the Maldives each winter with babies/ toddlers and it's been great.

I think it really depends on what you want from it. Ours our happy with lots of beach/ sea/ pool, but if you want entertainment maybe elsewhere

GrumpyKat Fri 09-Aug-13 20:37:55

Since we had dd we've been to Bali, Malaysia and Thailand and I'd recommend all of them!
Thailand lured us back two years in a row as the flights are just slightly shorter and I'd second the earlier recommendation for Koh lanta. It's a beautiful place and really child friendly. We stayed at Long Beach Chalet and I really can't say enough good things about the beautiful family who own it or the fab beach that it sits on. Feel free to pm if you're interested.

AlwaysOneMissing Sat 10-Aug-13 19:14:21

Yes holidaybug it is a shame about Egypt at the moment, but we won't risk it, maybe sometime in the future when it all settles down.

forevergreek the Maldives would be amazing - is there a hotel you could recommend? We were thinking entertainment but it depends on what the hotel has to offer so we are keeping an open mind.

Thanks for the recommendations grumpy, I will look into those places, that's a couple of suggestions of Thailand which we hadn't even considered before this thread.

Thank you, all suggestions and comments appreciated!

forevergreek Sat 10-Aug-13 19:51:57

Always - we usually stay at the Lux ( dhidhoofinolhu island), or the Sheraton full moon resort and spa. For us we prefer the Sheraton I think, but the lux is more child orientated I would say. I think the children clubs etc are from 3 years. The lux is generally more expensive but depends on dates.

Do take a look on ba website, ATM x2 children under 12 stay and eat free. So with your ages it would only be a flight seat for eldest and youngest travel free as under 2. We usually go for 10-14 days also as its a day travel either end

Also look on sovereign luxury travel, they have a collection called ' the family collection' which includes places around the world that cater well for children.

forevergreek Sat 10-Aug-13 20:04:57

Oh and the Sheraton kids program is from 4, so yours a bit too young ( and ours), but they have a babysitting service avaliable all day privately ( for fee), for anyone younger. And you can just book an hour here and there as you want.Ie if you want to dine or spa alone.

dontyouknow Sun 11-Aug-13 07:35:16

We tend to end up going wherever we can get a good deal - you could try phoning someone like the flight centre or dial a flight to see if they have any good deals for flights to any of the places you are considering. They often have special offers on the hotels too so we have found it works out cheaper than say booking flights on expedia and then the hotel. I used to think Hayes & Jarvis were luxury (ie expensive) holidays but we have booked with them twice as they can have good deals too.

Also think about flights etc. If you go to Goa it will be a direct charter flight and there will be a rep which you might feel more comfortable with if you haven't been long haul before. On the other hand it is India and whilst pretty developed compared to a lot of the rest of the country, you might prefer to wait until your children are a bit older to go there. (FWIW we first went when DD was 3 and are looking at going next Easter when DS will be just 1, but I have spent a lot of time over the years backpacking all round India (and a lot of other places!) so I am probably happier taking young children places where a lot of people would be a little wary)

Anywhere else mentioned by various people above - Thailand, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Bali, Maldives would generally be scheduled flights. If you are going to Southern Thailand/islands then you would need an internal flight too, as you would if you were going to the beach in Malaysia. If you book independently it is not a package and you don't have a rep. That always suits us fine as we like to just use local taxis and do trips ourselves. The scheduled flights would generally be nicer though and you can often break the flight - we have flown Emirates a few times with an hour or so in Dubai to change planes which gives little ones a chance to run round for a bit. Again for us it varies with whatever airline has good deals but don't assume that non stop is always better or worth paying a lot more money for.

If you want to stay closer to home then how about Tunisia? Warm but not hot in December. Not quite as exotic as some of the other suggestions but could be a stepping stone as it's "medium haul" like Egypt.

34DD Sun 18-Aug-13 12:53:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bakingaddict Sun 18-Aug-13 13:39:30

As Malaysia is a former British colony, English is very widely spoken out there and you can even get M&S and Legoland. If you choose southern Malaysia, Tioman Island, Kota Tinggi where you can get hotel packages with LEGOLAND thrown in it's then really easy to add on Singapore where you can do Universal studios, night zoo safari, animal river cruise, shopping etc. A bit of beach and city in one holiday. Bear in mind for that part of the world Dec/Jan will still be rainy season and it's also very humid will your young children be able to cope with the heat?

I would go with dontyou's suggestion of Tunisia and perhaps wait a few more years when the kids are a bit older to go somewhere more exotic

AlwaysOneMissing Sun 18-Aug-13 23:10:15

Thank you for all these suggestions - we are still deliberating!

Unfortunately we had an awful holiday in Tunisia some years ago, and the weather was really bad, we had winter coats and scarves on all week! That was in January, so we feel like the weather might be a risk? We hated the feel of the place tbh, felt very vulnerable, locals calling out obscenities to us, sexually explicit comments, doing anything to get us into their shops including physically separating me and DH from each other to drag us into separate shops and pressure us into buying!
So we are not keen to go back.

Coconutty Sun 18-Aug-13 23:17:14

You've described Tunisia exactly like Egypt, was exactly like that.

Cape Verde was an easy holiday, 5 1/2 h flight, 2h time difference, one in January. Lovely beach, pool, food etc.

Nothing else really, but with very young ones what would you be doing anyway except pool and beach? Very reasonable too.

Coconutty Sun 18-Aug-13 23:17:45

Actually Egypt was hot but the rest was the same.

AlwaysOneMissing Mon 19-Aug-13 08:18:30

Perhaps Egypt would not be the place for us either then coconutty - just not our idea of a relaxing holiday at all! Saying that, with the unrest in Egypt at the moment we won't be going yet anyway. But in the future, if we want a low key holiday spent just in the hotel complex, Egypt might be an option for some winter sun for us.

Can I ask - has anybody had an issue with flies in Cape Verde?! I have read on a few trip advisor reviews that flies are everywhere, crawling over the food, landing on you when sunbathing, all over the place! Have any of you experienced this?

And flight times show the outward journey is 7.5 hours which surprised me as I thought it was a 6 hour flight.

So still unsure about Cape Verde! (Although the idea is growing on me)

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